Microsoft drops appeal of European antitrust case

j.d.walker j.d.walker at comcast.net
Tue Oct 23 09:14:51 CEST 2007


On Oct 22, 9:25 pm, therm... at india.com wrote:
> Microsoft drops appeal of European antitrust case
> template_bas
> template_bas
> The software giant, which faces a $1 billion fine, will make some of
> its Windows operating system code available so developers can better
> design products for it.
> By Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
> 11:43 AM PDT, October 22, 2007
> WASHINGTON -- Microsoft Corp. will drop its appeal of a long-running
> and costly European antitrust case and make some of its highly guarded
> software code available at low prices so developers can better design
> products that work with the Windows operating system, European
> officials said today.
>
> The decision came after Europe's second-highest court last month
> rejected Microsoft's appeal of a 2004 antitrust decision that had led
> to a record $703-million fine for abuse of its dominance in computer
> operating systems. On top of that fine, the European Commission in
> 2005 started levying a daily noncompliance fine against Microsoft that
> has brought the total to more than $1 billion.
>
> Running out of legal options, Microsoft agreed to abide by the 2004
> decision, ending a case that began in 1998, said Neelie Kroes,
> European Commissioner for Competition Policy.
>
> "Now that Microsoft has agreed to comply with the 2004 decision, the
> company can no longer use the market power it derived from its 95%
> share of the PC operating system market and 80% profit margin to harm
> consumers by killing competition on any market it wishes," she said in
> a written statement.
>
> Kroes said she had been in "almost daily contact" with Microsoft Chief
> Executive Steve Ballmer over the last two or three weeks in an attempt
> to resolve the case.
>
> Microsoft agreed to drop its appeal and provide information to
> software developers to allow their products to work with Windows.
> Microsoft had agreed to provide the information before but at costs
> that European officials said were "wholly unreasonable," Kroes said.
>
> Microsoft said in a statement that it would "continue to work closely
> with the commission and the industry to ensure a flourishing and
> competitive environment for information technology in Europe and
> around the world."
>
> The Redmond, Wash., company will lower its fee for a worldwide license
> to use its software code, from 5.95% of the requesting company's
> revenue to just 0.4%. Microsoft also dropped its demand for a royalty
> of 2.98% of the money made from software developed using Microsoft's
> protocols. Now, companies will have to pay only a one-time fee of
> 10,000 euros, or about $14,161.
>
> Microsoft also will make its code available to open-source developers,
> such as those that design applications for the Linux operating system,
> under terms that allow other users of the software to copy and modify
> it.
>
> "Microsoft's obligation to document its protocols is an ongoing one --
> the documentation needs to be maintained as products evolve and new
> issues may arise once it is being used by developers," Kroes said.
> "But as of today, the major issues concerning compliance have been
> resolved."
>
> Microsoft officials declined to comment.
>
> jim.puzzangh... at latimes.com





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